Almost done with the spray paint job, everything is pretty much done. Just need to peel off the stencils and unmask the entire bike. Make sure to leave the head tube, bottom bracket and seat tube sealed. After you get everything off the frame, you’ll be spraying it down with a clear sealant. NOTE: Be careful when peeling back the tape and stencils. You run the risk of ripping the new paint if you move to quickly and carelessly.
The last step, once everything is peeled off, is to spray several layers of clear enamel over the bike. If you’d like, you can run a very fine wet sand over the paint before applying the clear enamel. I used 400 grit to go over most of the bike. The same tip goes for this step as with the rest of the spray paint; use multiple light passes to apply a layer and avoid laying it on heavy. Just because its clear doesn’t mean it won’t drip…
Also, be careful when you wet sand the final paint. You’re wanting to mildly scuff the surface so the clear enamel binds to the paint well. You don’t want to strip any paint off!
Again, make several passes with the clear enamel. This will dry hard and be part of what protects your paint! I did so many passes that I actually emptied the whole can on the bike. Whether you are painting a road bike or a mountain bike, you will have rocks and road debris flying at your frame. Too many coats is probably not enough here!
IMPORTANT: Once you’ve applied the last cost of enamel, let your frame sit in the paint booth for a week! This alloys the paint to completely cure. Remember, you’ve applied many layers to the frame. You’ll need to let it go through this process to get the moisture out and allow for the paint to harden to its final state. If you take your bike frame out for a spin before its done curing, the paint will be soft and you will easily damage the paint you just spent so much time on…
Some other thoughts and stuff..
While you go through the process of painting your frame, you’ll end up with a lot of waiting time on your hands. If your using any components off an older bike, I’d recommend you take the free time and clean those components. I cleaned my cassette, scrubbed old rust off my disc brakes and cleaned my rear derailed while I was waiting for coats to set in between. It ends up giving the final bike a very polished look… even if it is a spray paint bike!
Clean dem wheels:
Clean dat disc:
In my case, it was short lived. It is after all, a mountain bike. Below is the final, assembled product and probably the only day I will ever see this bike this clean.
Final Verdict of The “Spray Paint Bike” Project
I finished the spray paint bike project about 6 weeks ago. Since that time, I have taken the bike on a ride once or twice a week. I ride some pretty rough and rocky trails. For those of you familiar with Salt Lake, I regularly run this down the Bobsled Trail. I’m actually surprised how well the pain has held up! There hasn’t been any rips in the paint. It’s taken on a few dings.. but honestly, it’s nothing I’ve never seen on a factory powder coated bike! Next time I need a new frame, I think I may repeat this project!
I just went outside and wiped down the bottom bracket, an area that would normally be subject to the most regular abuse, and took a picture to let you see how it is holding up:
I have more pictures of this project if you just want to thumb through them. I tried to give you as much detail as I could. Here is the project gallery that is hosted on imgur.com, one of the most awesome image hosting companies around!